Black and Hispanic motorists in Connecticut are pulled over by police at higher rates than white motorists and are more likely to be ticketed, says a new release of traffic-stop data reported by the Hartford Courant. Blacks and Hispanics are also more likely to have their cars searched, although police find contraband less often than when the cars of white motorists are searched. The release of data on nearly 250,000 traffic stops between October 2014 and March 2015 adds to the 595,000 traffic stops already analyzed during the first year of data collection by the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project.
In April, the project released evidence suggesting racial profiling by 10 police departments and two state police barracks. The project is run by the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy at Central Connecticut State University. When motorists were stopped for speeding, white drivers were given a speeding ticket 43 percent of the time, compared with 56 percent for black drivers and 59 percent for Hispanic drivers. For stop-sign violations, whites were ticketed 27 percent of the time, compared with 30 percent for blacks and 39 percent for Hispanics. For defective lights and other equipment violations, whites received a ticket in 6 percent of such stops, compared with 8 percent for blacks and 11 percent for Hispanics. Police officials object to an analysis that lumps together all departments in the state. In fact, although the data show that non-white motorists statewide are ticketed more often, that trend does not hold for every municipality. For speeding, the most-common offense, data show that black and Hispanic motorists in Bridgeport and Norwalk were less likely to be ticketed than white motorists.